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10 January 1945 Mission #226 Target: Dasburg

Despite continued heavy snow showers and ice that covered the taxiways and runways of many of the Liberator bases, the overriding need to assist the ground forces in and around the Bastogne area prompted a return strike to the same target complex. At 0445 and 0600 hours, (28) crews were given briefings, but only (19) were scheduled subsequently for take-off beginning at 1000 hours. Assembly weather over England was extremely poor and hazardous due to snow and icing but all bombers managed to join the Group’s and other formations. The competent airmanship of the aircrews was demonstrated in assembling under what was almost impossible weather conditions confronting them. A total of (14) B-24s were able to bomb, all having joined other units. Eleven released with various 96th Bomb Wing Groups, (2) with the 389th and (1) with the 448th Bomb Group. A total of (83) 100 and 500# GPs were dropped on target by GH methods with results unobserved due to weather. Once again, no enemy reaction in the form of fighters or AA fire were encountered. Recovery weather back at Wendling was hazardous but all bombers landed safely around 1620 hours, except (1) which was lost in a crash landing at Seething, home base of the 448th. This ship and aircrew, Lieutenant J. C. Clark’s from the 578th Squadron, crashed during landing in heavy snow and icing. The crew escaped safely.

In an article in the Winter 2006 issue of The Second Air Division Assn. JOURNAL, Oak Mackey provided this information about the Clarke crew's crash in #42-51186: "The date was January 10, 1945, a bad day for the Jack Clarke crew of the 392nd Bomb Group of the Second Air Division of the Eighth Air Force. I, Oak Mackey, was the copilot; Brad Eaton, navigator; Bob Lowe, bombardier, E.C. Brunette, engineer; J.T. Brown, radio operator, Ralph Heilman, nose gunner; George Peer and John Heckman, waist gunners; and Kevin Killea, tail gunner; perhaps the best crew in the 8th AF.

We were awakened at 02:00 a.m. for briefing at 04:30 a.m. The target was Dasburg in the Bastogne area to support our ground troops there. The weather was absolutely atrocious - through the night there had been a combination of freezing rain, sleet, snow showers and fog. The runways and taxiways were covered with a sheet of slippery ice.

At briefing we learned that our usual B-24 was not available and we were assigned the squadron spare. We were a deputy lead crew and would be flying off the right wing of the lead plane of the leading squadron. Upon reaching our assigned airplane we found it had not been warmed up, the engines were cold and very difficult to start. Only after much cranking, priming and cussing were we able to get them running. We were supposed to be two for takeoff just after the Group lead airplane. By now most of the entire Group had departed.

We made our takeoff, climbed through the overcast to on top of the clouds and had the rest of the Group formation in sight. At this time the #3 engine propeller severely over-speeded, probably because of congealed oil trying to pass through the propeller governor. This is a serious problem - because of the engine over-speed the engine might turn to junk, or the propeller might come off the engine and pass through the fuselage or hit the other engine on that side. Jack told me to shut down the engine and feather the propeller. I reduced power to the engine and pushed the feathering button. It immediately popped out again, for it is its own circuit breaker. Brunette was sitting between Jack and me on the cockpit jump seat, as all good engineers should. He pushed the feathering button in and held it there which caused the secondary circuit breaker to pop open, which he immediately held down with his other hand, a risky procedure as it could cause the feathering oil pump motor or associated wiring to catch fire. Oh-so-slowly the prop blades turned to the feathered position and engine rotation stopped.

With one engine out and a loaded airplane there was no way we could stay with the Group. We were now in the vicinity of Great Yarmouth, so we flew out over the North Sea and dumped our bombs. We left the arming safely wires in place so the bombs could not explode.

As we turned to go back to our base, the #2 propeller ran away, compounding our numerous problems. We got the engine shut down and propeller feathered with less trouble than we had with #3. A B-24 cannot maintain airspeed and altitude with two engines out and full fuel tanks, and we gave careful consideration to bailing out but decided to stay with the airplane for a while and conserve altitude as best we could. The weather at our airfield near Wendling had not improved, but we had little choice but to try to return there.

We were about due south of Norwich ten miles or so when we spotted an airport through a hole in the clouds, our first good luck of the day. We descended through the hole in the clouds and had gone through the before-landing checklists, lowered wing flaps to the landing position, extended the landing gear, and were turning to line up with a runway from west of the airport when the thick bullet-resistant windshield and side windows iced up, a common occurrence when descending through a temperature inversion. We could not pull up and go around with the landing gear and flaps down with only two engines operating - we were committed to landing.

Jack and I could not see through the iced-up windshields and windows. We had to continue our descent to keep air speed above stalling. Through a small clear place on my side window I saw men running at full speed, and I also saw that we were about to touch down. I assumed those men were running from a building of some sort and we were lined up to hit it. Without any thought and perhaps with instinct, I pushed full left rudder that caused the airplane to slew around to the left and we touched down in a sideways attitude. The landing gear snapped off, the two outside engine propellers broke off and went cartwheeling across the airfield. We slid sideways on the fuselage for a long way on the ice and snow; it seemed like forever. The fuselage was broken behind the cockpit area and the nose tilted up, which enlarged the window to my right a bit so that I was able to go through it with my backpack parachute on. Likewise Jack went out the left cockpit window. I ran along the right side of the airplane, stopped at the waist window to look in to see if everyone was out, continued around the tail and there they were, all nine of them and no one had a scratch. We had landed at Seething Airfield, home of the 448th Bomb Group, and we had missed the control tower by only 100 feet or so.

An ambulance pulled up in a few minutes and took us to the base hospital where the doctor looked us over to be certain there were no injuries. For medicinal purposes, someone brought out a bottle of 100-proof rye whisky. We took our medicine like real men. Someone called our base at Wendling and a truck came for us in an hour of so. So ended a bad day for the Clarke crew. It could have been much worse."



This photo was taken by someone standing on top of the control tower at Seething before the snow melted (but not the day of the crash). #186 had nearly slid into the tower, but came even closer to hitting the latrine which was located no more than 50 feet in front of the tower. A B-24 belonging to the 448th Bomb Group is taxiing by on the far side of #186.


The snow and ice have melted to a muddy mess.


A few days after the accident, the salvage crew is at work, apparently removing the top gun turret.

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10 JANUARY 1945

MISSION #226      Target: Dasburg



10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 340

P Caruso, J.A. 1st Lt.
CP McConnell, C.W.W. 1st Lt.
N Freeman, G.L. 1st Lt.
B Sexton, W.C. 1st Lt.
E Sevier, R.M. Pvt.
R Slechta, M.T. T/Sgt.
RW Wattles, L.O. S/Sgt.
LW Adelson, D. S/Sgt.
BT Williams, C.G. Sgt.
TG White, P.W. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 991

P Dugger, F.R. 1st Lt.
CP Henrickson, J.L. 2nd Lt.
N Hampton, W.A. F/O
B McInvale, A.L. S/Sgt.
E Jones, J.R. T/Sgt.
R Chenail, G.E. T/Sgt.
RW Lynch, R.C. S/Sgt.
LW Malley, J.P. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Keith, D.N. S/Sgt.
RCM Watson, C.B. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 357

P Bell, J.W. 1st Lt.
CP Guegold, R.L. 1st Lt.
N Forbes, D.R. 1st Lt.
B Wilson, H.W. 1st Lt.
E Radzikowski, L.S. T/Sgt.
R Cheshire, W.T. T/Sgt.
RW Noltkamper, A.A. T/Sgt.
LW Zwolinski, V.W. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Geron, H.E. S/Sgt.
RCM Cauchon, L.V. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 709

P Peterson, T.W. 1st Lt.
CP Rohe, J.M. 2nd Lt.
N Damerst, W.A. 2nd Lt.
B Lawson, R.F. 2nd Lt.
E Bruney, G.L. S/Sgt.
R Green, C.M. S/Sgt.
RW Arnold, E.R. S/Sgt.
LW Hankins, T.E. Sgt.
BT Hoffman, G.A. Sgt.
TG - -
PN Sullivan, P.A. 1st Lt.

10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 480

P Johnson, R.D. 1st Lt.
CP Ellis, J.F. 1st Lt.
N Hildebrand, L.C. 1st Lt.
B Mountain, J.G. 1st Lt.
E Stolins, E.A. Pvt.
R Holmes, E.L. T/Sgt.
RW Daniels, J. S/Sgt.
LW Gordon, G.P. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Cochran, G.D. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 489

P Raczko, W. 2nd Lt.
CP McGill, C.L. 2nd Lt.
N Cline, A.P. F/O
B Feldman, P. 2nd Lt.
E Reynolds, J.R. Sgt.
R VanDeven, J.K. Sgt.
RW Holland, J.R. Sgt.
LW Parker, R.J. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Adkins, J.E. Sgt.
RCM Frappier, H.A. S/Sgt.
S-27 Kieffer, R.W. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 511

P Clower, W.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Reel, H.D. 2nd Lt.
N Williams, R.B. 2nd Lt.
B - -
E Tomaszewski, E.A. S/Sgt.
R Stroh, J.E. T/Sgt.
RW Galvin, G.M. S/Sgt.
LW Schumacher, A.H. S/Sgt.
BT Letourneau, D.R. S/Sgt.
TG Hendrickson, R.H. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 636

P Enyart, D.W. 1st Lt.
CP Froehlich, S.S. 2nd Lt.
N Mertens, J.A. 2nd Lt.
B Snyderman, J. 2nd Lt.
E Aycock, C.E. T/Sgt.
R Gersten, G. T/Sgt.
RW Arneson, J.A. Sgt.
LW Mohan, V.L. Sgt.
BT Barlow, S.N. Sgt.
TG - -
Solomon, A.A. 1st Lt.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 868 (no mission credit)

P Myers, C.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Anderson, K.W. 2nd Lt.
N Warntz, W. F/O
B - -
E Payton, J.B. S/Sgt.
R Jaklinski, B. S/Sgt.
RW Gillette, R.E. Sgt.
LW Thornton, A.H. Sgt.
BT Purcell, L.J. S/Sgt.
TG Dunn, T.C. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 901 (no mission credit)

P Shaw, B.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Bachman, L.W. 2nd Lt.
N Anstey, M.P. F/O
B - -
E Kedenburg, J.H. Sgt.
R Sturm, W.A. Sgt.
RW Perlingiero, C.P. Sgt.
LW Rice, W.W. Sgt.
BT Hoover, R.C. Sgt.
TG Schunke, C.W. Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 879

P Stoddard, K.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Wilcoxson, R.H. 1st Lt.
N Koke, D.H. 2nd Lt.
B Santoro, M.P. F/O
E O'Hara, R.F. Cpl.
R Logue, R.V. Cpl.
RW Hoffman, R.A. Cpl.
LW Hores, G.P. Cpl.
BT - -
TG Szews, S.M. Jr. Cpl.

10 Jan 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 792

P Cohn, A.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Runyon, D.S. 2nd Lt.
N Flugel, R.R. F/O
B - -
E Cross, G.H. S/Sgt.
R Kincaid, M.M. S/Sgt.
RW Korpi, W.B. Sgt.
LW Nogales, D.E. Jr. Sgt.
BT Norton, W.R. Sgt.
TG Avery, W.R. Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 249 (no mission credit)

P Bilz, J.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Slayter, D.W. 2nd Lt.
N Barnes, J.M. 2nd Lt.
B Overman, D.T. 2nd Lt.
E Grout, A.G. T/Sgt.
R Fahrenbruch, K.G. T/Sgt.
RW Poepping, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Beals, B.M. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Ludwig, D.J. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 186

P Clarke, J.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Mackey, O. 2nd Lt.
N Eaton, C.B. 2nd Lt.
B Lowe, R.C. 2nd Lt.
E Brunett, E.C. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.T. T/Sgt.
RW Peer, G.R. S/Sgt.
LW Heckman, J.K. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Killea, K.B. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 804

P Joyce, J.F. F/O
CP Bowman, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N McQuade, R.N. F/O
B - -
E Albino, A. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.F. T/Sgt.
RW Gorham, R.L. S/Sgt.
LW Kurkomelis, G.C. S/Sgt.
BT Andrews, Q.Q. S/Sgt.
TG Richter, R.H. S/Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 241 (no mission credit)

P Hoover, J.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Douglass, G.E. 2nd Lt.
N Fetter, G.R. F/O
B - -
E Marlowe, J.D. S/Sgt.
R Costanzo, N.T. S/Sgt.
RW Janak, E.G. Sgt.
LW Gayda, F.M. Sgt.
BT Fitzgerald, T.R. Sgt.
TG Jones, L.A. Sgt.

10 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 459

P Daley, J.C. 1st Lt.
CP Stebner, O.G. 1st Lt.
N Thomas, C.P. 1st Lt.
B Cunningham, V.J. 1st Lt.
E Minster, G.E. T/Sgt.
R Firquain, O.S. T/Sgt.
RW Bevill, B.T. S/Sgt.
LW Cole, R.A. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Berry, J.F. S/Sgt.
NV Edmundson, R.H. 1st Lt.
NN Niman, H. 1st Lt.

10 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 128

P Benson, A.L. 1st Lt.
CP Singer, S. 1st Lt.
N Reichl, J.G. 1st Lt.
B Connery, M.J. 1st Lt.
E Henning, W.C. T/Sgt.
R Wickens, R.S. T/Sgt.
RW Hackney, S.H. S/Sgt.
LW Bowen, W.H. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Chatterton, G.A. S/Sgt.
PN Guhin, M.E. 1st Lt.
NV Kennedy, J.L. 1st Lt.

10 Jan 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 570

P McClellan, H.B. 1st Lt.
CP Carleton, D. 1st Lt.
N Havel, E.E. 1st Lt.
B Snoden, C.A. 1st Lt.
E Berger, R.F. T/Sgt.
R Kingston, D.B. T/Sgt.
RW Markle, J.M. S/Sgt.
LW Putnam, N.I. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Manville, F.E. S/Sgt.
NV Fowler, R.T. 2nd Lt.
NG Lipman, B.D. 2nd Lt.

Lt. Col. Martin and Maj. Keilman flew with the 44th Bomb Group's GH ships.

Jones, G.B. 2/Lt, copilot, flew with the 44th Bomb Group




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